In 1903, entrepreneur Preston Boyd Moss (known as P.B.) built the Moss Mansion, substantially influencing the culture of Billings, Montana the state’s eventual largest city.
The Moss Mansion in Billings Montana was inhabited solely by Mr. and Mrs. Moss, their six children, and three servants from the time of construction until 1984 at which time a community effort was organized to save the building as a historical site. The house was built for a cost of $105,000, compared to a national average of $5,000. It is a three story single family dwelling with a basement and an attached solarium; it has 28 rooms, and rises 45 feet into the air.
“There is more happening in Billings, Montana at midnight than at noon in Paris, Missouri.”
—P. B. Moss in a letter to his wife Mattie
The high-end interior decoration includes wood paneling, walls with gold threading, marble fireplaces, columns and even a vintage intercom system, all of which are original to the home. In addition the house is furnished with the original fixtures, furniture, drapes, and carpets. There is much of the Moss children’s furniture that has been returned to the home for posterity. Many pieces of eldest daughter Kula’s furniture, quilts and needlepoint adorn the home as well as a harp that was daughter number two Melville’s passion. Matriarch Martha’s paintings and china patterns are featured throughout much of the main floor. Each room in the house had a distinct theme and function designated by Martha Moss. These themes have been preserved and in some cases recreated to preserve the authenticity of the home.
The Moss Mansion hosts community events including weddings and special occasions, as well as other events throughout the year.
The Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can view the residence during self-guided tours or one-hour guided tours of the lower three floors. The top floor has been converted to storage and office space for year round staff and volunteers. Seasonal exhibits are also featured. The Moss Mansion was designed by the famous New York City architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed the original Waldorf-Astoria, Plaza Hotel, The Dakota, Williard Hotel, and Copely Hotel. In 1986 the Billings Preservation Society, a non-profit organization, obtained proprietorship of the Moss Mansion through a lease agreement with the family and separate option agreement. The museum is self-funded through tours, events and weddings, annual fundraisers, memberships, and donations.
The Moss Mansion has been a museum for just over 30 years. For eighty years before that, it was a home to members of the Moss family. The stories about this family, their influence on the development of Billings, and the evolution of so many lasting enterprises across the states of Montana and Wyoming are just being revealed.
As one would expect, several members of the Moss family died in this mansion. The youngest of the Mosses’ children, Virginia, died of diphtheria after her 6th birthday, on April 2nd, of 1908. Preston B. Moss died of a heart attack on Feb. 1st, of 1947, and his wife Martha Moss followed him in just 4 years later, dying of a Cerebral Hemorrhage, on November 6th, 1951. Finally, Melville Hollingsworth Moss died at the Mansion on November 2nd, 1984.
Children who die before they are mature or ready to go often enjoy a visit or stay in the home they felt the most comfortable.
People who lose a loved one too soon, sometimes, as spirits, meet together with their loved ones in their earthly home, and make up some time that they didn’t have together because of the premature death(s).
Personal items of the deceased that are on display in the family home or museum, can act like an environmental trigger, and draw their former owners, now in spirit, back to visit them, or even stay awhile.
A female voice was singing up in the Billiards Room, and was caught on an EVP. Could be residual, or a response to the music the investigators played.
A cool wind has been reported by staff and others, that goes up and around the living person’s body. No logical explanation has been found to explain this.
Shadows have been seen by staff and others in various rooms in the mansion; especially Billiards Room and the Lobby/Foyer area.
The entity of Preston Moss Has been seen walking down the central staircase many times.
The entity of a child, Virginia, was first noticed by the nurse who was attending Melville, a night before she died.
It seems that Melville was sleeping in a bed in the alcove of the master staircase, because Melville couldn’t go up the stairs to the bedrooms. The night nurse was nearby, within earshot of Melville’s bed, sleeping on a cot in the hallway off the kitchen. When the night nurse was awakened by sounds coming from Melville’s area, she went and found that Melville was fine, but she also saw an apparition of a little girl, around 6 year old, standing on the landing near the master staircase.